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Kansas Lawmakers Are Considering Lowering Marijuana Possession Penalties

kansas colorado marijuana attorney general derek schmidt

(image via Wikipedia)

In most states getting caught with marijuana is FAR more harmful than consuming marijuana. That used to be true of every state, but more and more states are legalizing marijuana, thank goodness. Kansas is a state in which marijuana is still very much illegal. Kansas’ largest city, Wichita, voted to decriminalize marijuana in April of last year. Whereas state law carries a possession penalty of a $2,500 fine and a year in jail, Wichita wants to hand out a $50 fine for the first offense.

Kansas’ Attorney General took the City of Wichita to court in an attempt to void the successful vote by Wichita voters, and in September of last year the Kansas Supreme heard arguments in he case. As far as I know, there hasn’t been a decision on it yet (please let me know if that’s not the case). In the meantime, the City of  Wichita has agreed to not implement the measure until the court rules on the matter. Case law suggests that the measure will be stricken down, unfortunately.

Kansas’ Legislature is currently considering a bill that wouldn’t decriminalize marijuana possession, but it would cut the penalties in half. Per KMBC:

The Senate Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee was meeting Wednesday for the first of two days of hearings on the marijuana legislation. The panel was taking testimony from supporters first and hearing from opponents Thursday.

The House approved the bill last year.

The measure would decrease the maximum penalties for first-time, misdemeanor marijuana possession to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine from a year in jail and a $2,500 fine. A second possession conviction would no longer be a felony.

This bill of course doesn’t go far enough. Those caught with marijuana will still be heavily fined, will still be locked in a cage, and will still be given the ‘marijuana scarlet letter.’ This bill is a step in the right direction, but I hope that the State of Kansas does better than this sooner than later.


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Johnny Green


  1. Backward Pennsylvania had a sales tax increase bill on Governor Wolf”s desk last month. Before Gov. Corbett left he passed a $.28 per gallon gas tax. Cannabis, Hemp legalization? Never crossed the legislature’s mind. DUH.
    What’s that Who song? The New Boss is the same as the Old Boss? I had hoped for better.

  2. Ruling came out… Wichita’s initiative reducing penalties was ruled unconstitutional and voided by the state supreme court.

    So much for loosening the penalties in Kansas. Prohibition wins this one.

  3. Hard to beleive …. That was almost 40 years ago. I have multiple narcotic possessions within the last decade and am employed making over 20 a hr. Maybe ur interviewing skills suck

  4. The Wichita case is still in the Kansas Supreme Ct awaiting the published opinion. Not sure about your opinion on the case law. There is very little case law because these city petitions are rare and we did make some procedural errors. But we’ll see. The KS law actually calls for authorities giving substantial leeway in decisions because these are citizens’ democratic actions, often without legal representation. In our case, the City of Wichita was petitioned by the AG and the staff attorneys ended up defending the initiative in the KS Supreme Ct.

  5. I was busted for a little bag of weed in 1976. In 2001, I was questioned about it in a job interview. Anyone can get access to your criminal record. Possession of marijuana is still a crime, and having a criminal record does affect you. And no, I did not get the job.

  6. Ease penalties from one year in jail for first time possession to only six months in jail for first time possession. Is it any wonder Kansas is horribly broke and backwards? Good Lord!

  7. The AG of Kansas needs to shut up and do his job.

    The PEOPLE voted for decrim and he sued the city?????

    DEMAND that he be arrested, fined and jailed for having cannabinoids in his system. Then………VOTE HIS ASS OUT.

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